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Boutique hypercars

  • The outliers

    Beyond the sports car, there is the supercar. And beyond the supercar lurks the rarest animal on the road: the hypercar.

    Just as family sedans like the Toyota Camry seek to dominate their chunk of the marketplace, the hypercar’s raison d’être is simple: to please the discerning customer with an elastic billfold, and eviscerate pavement with impunity. They range from superfast coupes and convertibles to exotic, decadently trimmed grand tourers. And as global market indexes flirt with their pre-Recession heights, it seems every country is fielding one.

    The best-known supercar manufacturers receive generous financial support from parent companies. There are, however, “outlier” companies that build fascinating machines, most often with a donor engine surrounded by a stunning body.

    What follows is a survey, in no way comprehensive, of some of the most expensive and impressive outlier hypercars available – presuming you can find one.

  • W Motors Lykan Hypersport

    Country of origin: United Arab Emirates

    Who is responsible: Have yet to hear of Dubai-based W Motors? That is OK. Its Lykan Hypersport, previewed last summer and introduced in recent weeks at the Qatar motor show, is the start-up manufacturer’s first offering. With 750 horsepower from a twin-turbocharged, horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine, the Hypersport is said by its manufacturer to be capable of 245 mph.It will coddle owners in “gold-stitched interiors”, and will only be part of a five-unit run. The rationale for laying down a sultan’s sum is best explained by a W Motors spokesman: “If you are not crazy, you will not buy this.”

    Cost: $3.4 million

    An alternative: For a good time with a twin-turbo flat-six, albeit without the gold stitching, you can still buy a 2013 Porsche 911 Turbo, starting at $137,500. (W Motors)

  • Gumpert Apollo

    Country of origin: Germany

    Who is responsible: Founded by former Audi Sport director Roland Gumpert, the company that bears his name is known for the Apollo, which entered production back in 2005. Its V8 engine, which makes 650 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque, helps push the hypercar to 224mph. Other Apollo iterations included the R, which raised the V8’s output to 849 horsepower – as well as its base price, by almost $100,000. Alas, the secondary market is the only avenue for purchasing one: Gumpert ceased operations in 2012 after filing for bankruptcy protection.

    Cost: Approximately $550,000

    An alternative: The Apollo utilises a modified 4.2-litre V8 engine nicked from the parts bin that produced the Audi R8, which starts at $114,200. (Gumpert GmbH)

  • GTA Spano

    Country of origin: Spain

    Who is responsible: Before the latest-generation SRT Viper combined raw American power with almost European levels of craftsmanship, a handful of Spanish racing engineers dropped a V10 crate engine into a svelte body composed of lightweight carbon fibre, titanium and Kevlar. The result: a 780-horsepower monster that could speed from a standstill to 60mph in under 3 seconds. Ensuring exclusivity, GTA says only 99 Spanos will ever hit the pavement.

    Cost: Over $650,000

    An alternative: If it is the grunt of the Spano that you seek and grunt alone, look no further than a pre-owned Dodge Ram SRT-10 pickup truck, which also shares the supercar’s power plant. (GTA Motor)

  • Pagani Huayra

    Country of origin: Italy

    Who is responsible? The successor to the outrageous Zonda, the Huayra is the realisation of engineer Horacio Pagani’s chimerical fantasies: a 720-horsepower beast lurking under a coachbuilt body befitting a jewellery shop. Richard Hammond of Top Gear called the Huayra his hypercar of the year, not just for its planet-twisting power but for the craftsmanship of the interior – a masterpiece of carbon fibre and other shiny bits that complement the leather-trimmed everything-else. The manufacturer plans a run of about 40 cars per year.

    Cost: $1,070,500

    An alternative: The Huayra uses handbuilt engines from Mercedes-Benz’s AMG division, which also power the S65 sedan, starting at a decidedly more accessible $212,000. (James Lipman)

  • Koenigsegg Agera

    Country of origin: Sweden

    Who is responsible? The Koenigsegg Agera is a hypercar with a name that may be difficult to pronounce, but a shape and engine that are nothing if not memorable. The mid-engine Agera and its even faster sibling, the Agera R, utilise a 5-litre V8 engine to produce upwards of 1,000 horsepower, and have a top speed estimated at over 250mph. In keeping with the coachbuilding tradition, colour and trim choices are left to the customer to determine.

    Cost: $2.5 million

    An alternative: None, really, but Koenigsegg says it maintains listings of “Selected Certified Cars”. And frankly, an Agera owner would never be called out for driving last year’s model. (Koenigsegg)

  • Maybach Laundaulet

    Country of origin: Germany

    Who is responsible? Take a long-wheelbase, executive limousine for the ultra-wealthy, lop off the roof for the rear compartment only, and you are left with the Landaulet. With the Maybach’s passengers enjoying a breeze in their hair, the chauffeur can take pleasure in exercising the Landaulet’s 620-horsepower, turbocharged V12 engine. Maybach famously teased the world’s plutocrats with the Exelero sports car some years back; the Landaulet is the manufacturer’s closest brush with a convertible, however. And now that the Maybach brand is being mothballed (again) by Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz, such cars will be even rarer still.

    Cost: $1.38 million

    An alternative: Captains of industry need not fret. Daimler is working overtime to unload its remaining Maybach 57 and 62 limousines, having famously offered $100,000 cash incentives in 2012. (Daimler Group)